Top critical review
When you call a work a "bible" it had better be authoritative
Reviewed in the United States on April 25, 2015
I bought this book to find the antecedents and founding works of steampunk, and all I saw is a close view of the last 30 years or so from the narrow point of view of the authors. As it moves into modern times it seems to concentrate on the authors' personal acquaintances. When you call a work a "bible" it had better be authoritative. The index on this thing is pathetic, and the early scholarship is neglected. I'm old enough to identify one precursor to the novel "The Difference Engine" by Gibson and Sterling, and I'm no expert on cyberpunk. That was "A Transatlantic Tunnel, Hurrah!" by Harry Harrison. In short, steampunk-like works have been written from the beginning of speculative fiction, whether or not they were called steampunk. There is an enormous literature in alternate histories, and it takes only a quarter-turn to change an alternate history to a steampunk story. That twist has occurred many times before, and should have been investigated more thoroughly. Two writers I would NOT add to the category of steampunk are Jules Verne and H.G. Wells. When they wrote their fiction, they were considered modern, yet the authors of The Steampunk Bible drone on and on about them. It is we who have moved, not they. To sum up, this work would have made a fine coffee-table book had it been less pretentious. "Bible" is a name earned from outside readers, not bestowed by the authors.